Football Star Hines Ward Partners With 'got chocolate milk?'™ To Move From The Gridiron To IRONMAN® Triathlon 'BECOME ONE' Program Announces Search for Two Everyday Athletes to Join Hines Ward in Life-Changing Journey to Train for the World's Most Coveted Endurance Race

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Football legend Hines Ward may have hung up his helmet and pads but that doesn't mean he's stopped pushing the boundaries of his athletic ability. Just one year after ending his 14-year pro football career, Ward will up the ante by switching gears from a 40-yard dash to a 140.6 mile swim, bike and run in the most revered, yet challenging one-day endurance event on the planet. Ward has teamed up with REFUEL | 'got chocolate milk?' to take on the 2013 IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon on the Island of Hawai'i and is searching for two people to experience this life-changing journey with him.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121029/CG01441)

The new program, dubbed "BECOME ONE," REFUEL | 'got chocolate milk?' is issuing a challenge to individuals who believe they can redefine their personal limits to become an IRONMAN triathlete. This one-of-a-kind program will send Ward and the two contest winners on an epic journey and give them starring roles in an online documentary series. Together, they will receive the tools, training and nutritional know-how to conquer the IRONMAN World Championship – the "holy grail" of triathlon – in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i on October 12, 2013.  

A Transformational Training Journey
Beginning in February, Hines Ward plus the two contest winners will start a seven-month training and recovery regimen with elite professional coaches and sports dietitians that will prepare them for the grueling race. They'll learn that what they do after strenuous exercise, such as refueling with lowfat chocolate milk, can make a dramatic difference in how they feel and perform during their next workout. A growing body of published research suggests the nutrient profile of lowfat chocolate milk can help athletes recover after hard workouts so they can perform at their best during the next bout of exercise. For Ward and his fellow IRONMAN triathlon apprentices, recovering effectively every day could mean the difference between crossing the finish line in Kona and "bonking out" somewhere along the 140.6-mile course.

"To become an IRONMAN triathlon finisher in Kona is to take your place among the greatest athletes in all of sports, so it's no surprise that a competitor like Hines Ward would seek out this challenge," said Miranda Abney, Senior Marketing Manager of the Milk Processor Education Program, the group behind the 'got chocolate milk?' campaign. "BECOME ONE will give Hines and two other lucky people an exclusive opportunity to leave it all on the course and show that anything is possible by crossing the most prestigious finish line in endurance sports."

"Hines may have been one of the most successful pro football players in history, but when it comes to IRONMAN triathlons he'll be a rookie all over again," said Erik Vervloet, Chief Marketing Officer of World Triathlon Corporation (d/b/a IRONMAN). "But with the right coaching, nutrition and attitude, we're confident that he'll show us that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE."

From Steel-town Football Star to IRONMAN Triathlon Rookie
Ward retired from professional football in 2012 after a stellar 14-year career with Pittsburgh in which he became the all-time leading receiver in the history of the sport and captured two league championship victories. No stranger to stepping outside of his comfort zone, Ward competed in – and won – Season 12 of ABC's hit reality-competition series "Dancing with the Stars," produced by BBC Worldwide Productions. The 2013 IRONMAN World Championship race will present his most daunting challenge yet, as Ward will train fiercely to recondition his body and take his game from the football fields to the lava fields of Kona.

"I may be retired, but I'm certainly not finished as an athlete – and there's no bigger challenge than taking on the IRONMAN World Championship," Ward said. "I've got a long road ahead of me, but I'm eager to prove that by training hard with the right experts and refueling smarter with chocolate milk, I will become an IRONMAN triathlon finisher."

How Everyday Athletes Can BECOME ONE
Everyday athletes can apply to join this one-in-a-lifetime training journey now through November 30 at www.gotchocolatemilk.com. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, and they need to create a short video on YouTube™ to explain what motivates them, why they want take this challenge, and how IRONMAN and chocolate milk can help redefine their personal limits. Two winners will be announced in February 2013.

As part of the "BECOME ONE" program, cameras will follow Ward and the chosen athletes throughout the training journey as they prepare for the biggest challenge of their lives: a 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bike race, and a full 26.2-mile marathon, all in the same day. Coached by eight-time IRONMAN World Championship winner, Paula Newby-Fraser, they will train hard every day, then refuel and recover with lowfat chocolate milk – the Official Refuel Beverage of IRONMAN – so they can give it their all the next time. Their compelling journey will play out as online interactive webisodes on www.gotchocolatemilk.com starting in February 2013.

The Science of Chocolate Milk
More and more elite athletes and coaches are recognizing the benefits of refueling with lowfat chocolate milk. Penny Wilson, dietitian for the IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann, makes chocolate milk a staple on the training menu of her athletes. "For athletes that train hard regularly, it's so important that they recover properly in-between to be able to get the most out of their next workout," said Wilson. "Elite athletes have been refueling with chocolate milk for years because of its unique nutrient profile, plus it's so simple and it tastes great!" Chocolate milk has the right carb-to-protein ratio scientifically shown to help the body recover, high-quality protein to help repair muscles and fluids and electrolytes to replenish what's lost in sweat.

A growing body of research supports chocolate milk's recovery benefits after strenuous exercise. For example, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that following an exhausting ride, trained cyclists had significantly more power and rode faster, shaving about six minutes on average from their ride time when they recovered with lowfat chocolate milk compared to a carbohydrate sports drink and calorie-free beverage.

 To learn more about the "BECOME ONE" program, the science behind the recovery benefits of lowfat chocolate milk, and to check out exclusive training tips and videos, log onto gotchocolatemilk.com, or join the conversation on Facebook/gotchocolatemilk and Twitter @gotchocomilk using #BecomeOne. Visit ironman.com to learn more about IRONMAN and the IRONMAN World Championship.

About the REFUEL | "got chocolate milk?™" Campaign
The Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk processors, who are committed to increasing fluid milk consumption. The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board, through MilkPEP, runs the REFUEL | "got chocolate milk?™" Campaign, a multi-faceted program designed to educate athletes about the recovery benefits of lowfat chocolate milk after strenuous exercise.  Lowfat chocolate milk is simple, effective and scientifically shown to help refuel the body so athletes can perform at their best. It's a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle; it has the right mix of protein and carbs to refuel exhausted muscles; plus fluids and a natural source of electrolytes to rehydrate and help replenish what's lost in sweat. For more information, go to www.gotchocolatemilk.com.

About IRONMAN
The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world.  Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world's most challenging endurance races. Recognized for excellence through distinguished events, world-class athletes and quality products, World Triathlon Corporation (d/b/a IRONMAN), owner and operator of the IRONMAN® Series, has grown from owner of a single race to a global sensation with more than 190 events across five unique brands: IRONMAN®, IRONMAN 70.3®, 5150 Triathlon Series, Iron Girl® and IronKids®. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

SOURCE MilkPEP



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